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Enjoying Nashville’s sculptures from a socially appropriate distance
By Tom Adkinson

(Editor’s note: This is one in a series of travel stories spotlighting destinations logical to visit as Americans venture out in a time of coronavirus.)

Nashville Ghost Ballet
Nashville Ghost Ballet; image by Tom Adkinson.

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – An array of more than 50 pieces of outdoor public art add special touches to a socially isolated walk or bicycle ride through Nashville. One that generally puzzles people is at the edge of the Cumberland River just across from the Lower Broadway honky tonk district and practically in the shadow of Nissan Stadium. It is “Ghost Ballet for the East Bank Machineworks” and is one that many people think is an homage to roller coasters. The sculptor certainly had other ideas.

Schermerhorn Symphony Center Fountain;
Schermerhorn Symphony Center Fountain; image by Tom Adkinson.

Others sculptures are more straightforward, such as the statue of Country Music Hall of Fame member Chet Atkins at the corner of Fifth Avenue North and Union Street. It almost begs you to stop and take a photo to prove you “met” the famous guitarist. Some are sobering and thought provoking, such as “Witness Walls” in Public Square Park which was the city’s first public art about civil rights. Others are super-realistic, perhaps as a contrast to “Ghost Ballet,” such as “Musica,” a collection of 15-foot-tall naked (and we mean really naked) dancers who adorn the top of Music Row. (Nashville’s Metro Arts Commission outlines a five-mile art bike tour online.)

Trip Planning Resources: MetroArtsCommission and

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s new book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available at

Published June 26, 2020

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